by Adity Kay
The Maurya and Gupta dynasty were some of the greatest dynasties which ruled India. Their kings brought abundance of glory and prosperity to the country and the citizens. Adity Kay's latest book Emperor Chandragupta depicts the journey of the founder of the Maurya dynasty Chandragupta Maurya from a tribal wanderer to conquering half of India.
About The Story Line
You must have read in school about Chandragupta with the help of Chanakya raised a small, but disciplined army which thrashes the giant, but the highly disorganized Nanda army and puts an end to the tyrannical rule of the Dhana Nanda.
Now how Chandragupta managed to raise a small army and infused in them enough confidence to overrun the enemy's army, is what the author Adity Kay has tried to imagine in the novel Emperor Chandragupta.
Chandragupta had been shown as a magnificent warrior. But, how a warrior king could becomes a benevolent emperor? He learns through Chanakya, monks and by observing other monarchs about the good and bad traits of a king. Like a swan, he adopts everything good from bad, and emerges as the most loved ruler of his era.
The story starts on an interesting note with Chandragupta's tribe on the verge of getting destroyed by Nanda army and narrowly escapes the massacre. Initially, there was an element of suspense and secrecy hanging very heavily in the plot which will make you curious to know what is stored.
To be absolutely honest, the author Adity Kay failed to build upon the promising beginning and the story becomes a tedious read due to the lack of pace. The book just keeps on going at a slow pace with no thrill and action.
Chandragupta and Chankaya's life were under constant threat, but there was no real attacking scene which will stop your breath. Chandragupta's encounter with Alexander was so lukewarm. So were the battle scenes. There was no such tricky situation were Chankaya used his brains and Chandragupta used his power to bail out. Something mind boggling which will pop your eyes out in astonishment and appreciation for the author.
The author's sole focus was how Chandragupta trained himself to become a benevolent monarch. Constant lectures and preaches on king's duty dragged the plot. There was more padding and less action in the plot.
You must be knowing Chanakya as a master war strategist and shrewd diplomat. But the author failed to include these features in her characterization of Chanakya. In fact Chanakya's role was quite undermined in order to keep the focus on Chandragupta Maurya.
Initial suspense in the novel around the birth of Chandragupta vanished in thin air. It never finds a proper revelation and closing and nor did Chandragupta pursued it. So why at all there was this need to include in the storyline.
Adity Kay toyed with historical facts and stories at her will to suit her story line. Like the episode of Chanakya’s oust, Chandragupta’s lineage, King Puru and Alexander part all seems to be distorted.
Without any thrill and action, this historical fiction reads more like a boring textbook. The author’s good command over the language and proper construction of sentences will see you through, but I hardly enjoyed reading it.